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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

BRUISES

207

The usw

ecchymoses do not undergo the usual colour changes ;   they are at first
bright red, and then become yellow in colour before they disappear.

between Accidental, Homicidal and Self-inflicted Bruises.—

^question that a defence pleader puts to a medical witness in the

case of bruises is whether
they were caused accident-
ally by a fall or homicidally
by mechanical force. The
reply to this question is not
easy in all cases; however,
the position and arrange-
ment of the bruises may
help the witness give a defi-
nite reply. ^In the case of a
fall, a medical practitioner
should look for the evidence
of sand, gravel -or mud on
the body. Again, the shape
and size of a bruise gene-
rally correspond to the
weapon used in inflicting
the injury. Thus, a bruise
caused by a blow from a
fist or a butt end of a club
(lathi) is usually rounded
in appearance. J^_ bruise
inflicted with the length of
a club or stick is, as a rule,
elongated and irregular. .&.
soft cane or whip usually
produces two parallel bruis-
es with an intervening space
A bruise caused by a whip

Fig. 77.—Bruise caused by a shoe heel.

almost equal to the diameter of the weapon.

may also encircle a limb or part of the body and may present an abraded

surface at the end.

Bruises caused by a blunt weapon are not, as a rule, self-inflicted.
During my long practice of twenty-eight years as a medico-legal officer I
have not come across a single case of this nature. .But, with a view to
supporting a false charge of assault, bruises are sometimes simulated by the
application of some irritant substance, such as the juice of Bhilawa, (mark-
ing nut) or the root of Chitra (plumbago zeylanica) or Lai Chitra (plum-
bago rosea). The marks produced by these substances appear like bruises,
but they are ctarE-brown in colour with the margins usually covered with
tiny vesicles, and the surrounding skin is red and inflamed. The scrapings
of the marks, if recent, will respond to the tests of the substance used.
Owing to the irritation caused by the application of these substances it is
very difficult to avoid scratching the part with the fingers ; hence similar
marks are usually found on the tips of the fingers and under the free edges
of the finger nails.

In November 1926, a woman complained that she was beaten with a club.    On
examination I found four marks of dark-brown pigmentation, varying from 1" to 4P by
1" to 3", obliquely across the back and outer side of the left thigh in its lower haH.  Tfae*
skin around the marks was red and inflamed, and the edges were covered wife tfay.'
vesicjes.    The tips of the fingers showed similar marks of dark-brown pigmenfewiea*.
The scraping of the marks on the thigh and fingers gave the chemical tests of tfee Jt&oe ,
of marking nut.